Watching Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, I was struck by the subtext of an indigenous community struggling with a mainstream society it does not want to be part of and how their way of life is being actively undermined, and the real meaning of that experience that is masked, blanded down, dumbed down for entertainment.
Assimilation. Become part of the mainstream and have one’s culture reduced to a parody, for the benefit of the mainstream society. The history of assimilation is of course omitted. And yet, to talk about tradition with out mentioning that part of it is to fail to address the elephant in the room.
Or extirpation. The willingness, and intentionality, of government Officials using Statute Law to evict the peoples of any community. Have we not seen enough jungle documentaries to understand what this really means?
Traveller People who have made their own settlements, who had built their homes on waste land, when no land was available for them that ought to have been available under Statute Law and Human Rights Law which was designed to protect their right to their cultural ways.
What were the choices that led to this – the choice to retain one’s own culture and kin structures.
Very clearly, the traveller communities are being targeted.
To have them undergo their own forced eviction and to witness the subsequent Israeli style destruction of their homes – all this because they, as a community, want desperately to retain their extended family culture, even as their nomadic way of life is being restricted – rings bells all over the Earth.
The tone of the program, the ‘show’, whilst it dealt with the present situation, and I am repeating myself, has not really made any effort to contextualise it with the history of the traveller communities, not least their experience over many hundreds of years of active discrimination by the mainstream Society.
Catching a few families whilst the first and second generations go through the process of ‘assimilation’ will always throw up instances of ‘strange’ behaviour (strange by mainstream measure……), instances of distress, of neglect and of anger which can be used to make light of what is really happening. To suggest that, yes, perhaps the best thing is for the children to get a ‘proper’ education, have a ‘better’ life.
How arrogant. Based on entirely false assumptions.
Their ‘culture’ is portrayed in this way, as entertainment, as gossip, by focussing on the colours, just as a cheap gossip magazine might do, is to make their culture appear less valuable, less meaningful than it is, as a part of the human diversity of these lands, not least to those people themselves.
There is a dreadful world wide history of assimilation or extirpation of nomadic indigenous communities.
Is this program part of that process?
What kind of action, what kind of subtle justification is being laid in peoples minds by this program?
How ubiquitous is this subtle ‘entertain-mental chain slavery process’?
Do what you love, it's Your Gift to Universe